On October 29, El Vigía, an Ensenada based news outlet, reported that Baja 1000 marker flags that will be guiding the race vehicles in less than two weeks — were compromised. The red SCORE flags were removed, destroyed and re positioned between Ejido Eréndira (60 miles south of Ensenada) down to El Rosario which is an additional 113 miles south.
I direct messaged Diego Gómez, an Ensenada-based off-road reporter for Infernus Media. “[Messing with the SCORE markers] always happens at night or when nobody sees them,” he said, “but if they are caught: they are fined and handed over to the authorities for damages.”
El Vigía posted a photo of a 5-to-6 inch red triangle shaped flag that reads SCORE on it with an arrow pointing to the left; the photo was captioned: “The arrows have been removed or moved, which could confuse the racers.”
Alpine resident Yolie Stover from Off Road Girl Loves Baja, a bi-national fan page devoted to the off-road sport is concerned about the re routed flags. She’s been covering the sport since the 1990s and thinks that some that compromised the arrows might “make booby traps …. they do that sometimes,” she said.
“It is a problem because it is done out of pure malice,” Gómez said.
Some racers of the annual off-road race that begins in Ensenada, goes down the Baja peninsula, then loops back to Ensenada never finished the 1000-plus-mile loop-race due to booby traps.
Red Bull reported in 2015: “Every year, local pranksters dig holes and build Dukes of Hazard-esque jumps out on the course in the hope of catching out the unaware – just what you need in the middle of the night in middle of the desert.”
According to El Vigía, a spokesperson from SCORE, the race’s parent company, corroborated that ditches were found and in the past some runners drove “into ramps that did not exist (before the race) or boards that have caused accidents in the corridors.”
“It’s dangerous for drivers because they don’t know what’s there and they already practiced (the pre-run) the week before, and all of a sudden they’ve put a jump there,” said Richard from Chula Vista. “Racing [Baja 1000] is very dangerous already …. it’s [likely] jail time if they get caught making a booby trap or a jump.”
The changing of the arrows is another problem but racers and fans have said all of the race vehicles are equipped with a GPS system.
“When you are travelling at 50-100 mph and you see tons of flags pointing the wrong way,” said one fan, “you’re not going to have time to decipher between the GPS and the [compromised] flags.”
“People said that some flags were compromised by ranchers who do not like the race event,” Gómez said, “which accounts for two-out-of-three that live in certain areas by the course.”
The 51st SCORE Baja 1000 event will run on November 14-18.